A warrior putting on his sword for battle should not boast like a warrior who has already won. – 1 Kings 20:11
1 Samuel 17:40-46
40 David picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine.
41 Goliath walked out toward David with his shield bearer ahead of him,
42 sneering in contempt at this ruddy-faced boy.
43 “Am I a dog,” he roared at David, “that you come at me with a stick?” And he cursed David by the names of his gods.
44 “Come over here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!” Goliath yelled.
45 David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies – the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
46 Today the LORD will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel!
Trash talking is often a lighthearted way to engage opponents in a competitive athletic setting. The goal is to make your opponent doubt their own skill or sufficiently distract them. It also tends to build up one’s own confidence and team spirit. When dealing with friends, trash talk is often funny, enjoyable, entertaining, and does not attack their dignity
When dealing with enemies, trash-talking is another thing altogether. Trash talk is employed to intimidate adversaries who may seem otherwise unshakable. The point is to threaten, coerce, and insult them.
The trouble is it does not always work!
The Father knows that preparing for war is one thing, but winning the battles is quite another. Too often we boast prematurely. This idea is conveyed using common colloquial expressions: “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch” or “Don’t celebrate your victory until you have fought the battle.”
The Father has a better way.
1 Kings 20:13 “This is what the LORD says: Do you see all these enemy forces? Today I will hand them all over to you. Then you will know that I am the LORD.”
REFLECT & PRAY
It is never a good idea to mock or taunt. More importantly, it is a really bad idea to mock and taunt the Father, the living God, and His people.
Father, as I read the Scriptures, I see people with great faith and confidence. They are bold and wish only to honor You. How I long to be like that.
The Father treasures and protects His reputation and honor. It is foolish to insult or taunt the living God. The Father will often act when His character, authority, or power is scorned. People with great faith such as David, Moses, Ruth knew this. They relied upon it and fully trusted Him when risking their own lives.
Sometimes we are left scratching our heads wondering why the Father does not act immediately to the insults from an increasingly godless world. It is worthwhile to remember “The Wheels of Justice turn slowly but exceedingly fine” (Longfellow). One of Longfellow’s translations taken from the poem, “Retribution,” by Friedrich Von Logau:
Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience he stands waiting, with exactness grinds he all.
David’s entire life had prepared him for the very moment of this confrontation with Goliath. The Father builds faith and strengthens it throughout our lives. And so it was with David. The Father had previously delivered David from danger. The Father demonstrated His power and trustworthiness. David relied on the Father to deliver him once again from the giant Goliath.
The challenge of Goliath, a pagan uncircumcised Philistine, was directed toward the armies of the living God. Hence the battle was with the Father Himself. David knew this. He understood that the Father was the commander of Israel’s armies. David recognized that the Father was the real deliverer of Israel.
To David, this battle is fundamentally spiritual. David was jealous for the Father’s reputation, not his own. David’s faith and trust in the Father gave him the courage and boldness to face the Father’s enemy and defend His honor and majesty. David was confident that the Father would empower him to preserve His honor and defeat Goliath.
1 Samuel 17:36-37
36 “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.”
37 And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
There is a way to be confident and boast properly. Our boasting should be in the Father and His adequacy not our own. Spending time with the Father provides great confidence in the face of adversity.
2 Corinthians 10:17-18
17 “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
Acts 4:13 Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.
Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence (Helen Keller).
Confidence is simply the belief in a successful outcome. The confidence of the Father’s children rests in His strength, not from their own.